What role does religion play in the education of a being? What role does education play in the religion of a being? Should children be exposed to dogma, metaphysics, or morality when they are too young to resist? How else can ethics be instilled? Why do some rocks make some peoples' hands tingle? Why do people from the same cultural background present contrasting notions about magic, weapons, computer programming and other lively topics? I will not, unfortunately, be presenting answers to these burning questions. Instead, I will be asking other questions which may be answerable, and may help lead to the answers to those questions (and many like them).
Before I get too far along, I will define some of my terms. These are the concepts whose basic nature I will not call into question in this exploration. I declare religion to mean "the prime motivator", and cult to mean a system of beliefs and practice particular to a deity, pantheon, or belief system. Metaphysics is the field of philosopy which deals with that which exists but has no physical nature (or none as yet determined). (These are academic anthropology definitions, mostly). Children are beings who are physically immature. Although the definition of "below the community age of majority" is also applicable, and even relevant in cases, it is quite subjective. Morality is the distinction between right and wrong, and ethics are systems whereby rightness and wrongness are determined or asserted. (eg "I won't kill" vs. the Talmudic: "Do no murder.") A dogma is an entrenched belief, and the word usually has a negative connotation (even in the movie by that title, which emphasized portable ideas over rigid beliefs).
The personal experience which provoked and may anchor this investigation involves the rocks (and people) in question. . Whereas many of my friends, acquaintances, family, and even some relatives seem to possess a sensitivity to such phenomena, I do not. These people seem able to perceive, and if they are to be believed, manipulate energy flows, inside and outside their bodies. I'll go into those ideas themselves in more detail later on, but here my interest is the transmission of those ideas. Specifically, the contrast bewtween beings whose early education upbringing included inforation about this, and those who did not. In my limited experience, all of the individuals who appear capable of these menaipulations (or sensitive to them) seem to have have been taught about such things at a young age. Anecdotally, this was usually done by a close relative. In my peculiar situation, my half-brother (raised by diferent parents than I) has an understanding of these things. In the case of him and his close friends they seem to have gained some of their understanding from martial arts training, and anecdotally this is not uncommon.
The rocks in question are usually crystals or semi-precious gemstones (eg "tiger-eye", amethyst, various quartzes). On exactly one occassion, afew years back, a small cut-crystal statuette, when passed to my left hand, seemed to cause a buzzing or tingling sensation which lasted for several minutes after the object was passed along. I witnessed a simillar thing happening to a friend recently as she sorted through some shiny rocks an older friend of hers had spilled onto a table to show her. Given my one experience, and the amount of anecdotal knowledge I seem to have about such things, I was peering at the stones while being very careful not to touch them. (The bags came out of a box of hedge magic paraphenalia, including Llewellyn books.) My young friend had immediately began poking through the collection of pretty rocks, despite my slight shock and suggestion of caution. The three of us talked around the subject for a few minutes. The fellow who was showing her the stones seems to follow a shamanistic system, and continually referred to the stones anthropomorphically, crediting them with emotion, intent, and in one case, malice. I understood some of what he was relating, including tales of how he got some the stones, but she followed very little of it. He declared that a particular stone was for her, and placed it in front of her. Picking it up, she told of the strange sensation in her hand.
She knows very little of such things. That may have been her first experience of that kind. She needs some help and guidance in understanding these things, and I cannot help her, knowing little myself. The question at hand is basically: Shouldn't someone have explained such things to her by now? Affirming that turns the question quickly to "Who?" and even "How?". And now we may begin the meat of our investigation into religion, ethics, and education.